tv American History TV CSPAN August 30, 2014 1:50pm-2:01pm EDT
@cspan.org.t commentsat like us on facebook. follow us on twitter. >> each week, american history tv's "reel america" show archival films that help tell the story of the 20th century. ♪ >> the panama canal 22 years ago. first, we go to the bottom of things and find ourselves at the world-famous gridiron cup, which perhaps is more familiar to you. now we are traveling along some of the 160 miles of track that
were laid down at the bottom of the canal. it constantly had to be shipped as the shovels dug away at mother earth. right at the spot, modern liners afloat on a watery bridge that rises 25 feet from where these rails are. in the distance now, the lines of tracks are to be seen, and also one gets an idea of the width of the canal. originally specified to be 200 feet in width at the bottom, president roosevelt, tr that was, wanted the dimensions changed to 300 feet crossing the united states at extra 13 millions of dollars and well worth it. local and white labor were employed. the white labor being called the gold standard. the native labor, the rest. the government kept one of these nave of signalman, flag in hand, at every switch. it had to. for every minute and a half during the peak of activity the , train loaded with dirt one on its way. it was almost impossible to keep
enough hands to tax the capacity. 101 steam shovels were used. we don't want to bore you with figures, but the government used over 300 locomotives and over 4000 cars in this work. now we are approaching the most famous part. first, a full view showing something of its best with steam -- its depth with steam shovels biting away at it and each chewing off cubic yards. these particular shovels are working on the famous coca russia -- cucaracha slide. cucaracha in spanish means cockroach, and this was disturbing. the cucaracha in october 1907 slid right across the bottom, and for two days, builds an -- for 10 days, moved an average of 14 feet every 24 hours. that was just one of the many things that came up in the
building of the canal. in all the time the shovels kept nibbling away. this is one of the locomotives used to haul the dirt train. you might add as we wait for one of these, each with 21 loaded cars to pass, that the canal has experienced some 20 slides also, totaling 25 million yards of earth and covering 220 acres of track and destroying 200 miles. -- miles of track. some of these came during dry season and they were caused by faults in the earth because of the removal of side walls and the cutting of the canal. in short, there was nothing to keep the cut. -- keep the sidewalls from expanding into the cut, which they promptly did. a few moments ago, we said the government used 101 shovels. some of them were led by the -- were left by the french. builders of the suez canal, first started work in 1882. these, however, are
good old american shovels, and they are working here at the lowest point of the cut, the very real bottom of the panama canal. the loading of the empty dirt train the done very quickly with those big dippers, and don't worry, the shovels always dig themselves out. these objects are some of the 553 rock drills used for setting up dynamite shock. 6 million pounds of explosive per year were used in the cutting of this gigantic ditch. nine-mile length. that would make a real chinese new year's party. in the distance, two famous spots come on the left gold hill and on the right contractors hill. it is said that it is from here that balboa first install the -- first saw the pacific ocean. but that was a long time ago, and you know how people will talk. at each end of the suspension bridge around 1910, there were sizable communities, contractors camp. -- camp's. with the completion of the work,
they were demolished in the vestige remains of their presence. this looks like a desert stream in early spring. its way and from the river. the basin is now filled by the lake, made by the man-made low-lying dam at the end of the canal. once again, we view the face, showing how it looked in 1912 at its highest point. it took -- the cost, it is difficult to get figures, but at an estimated cost of some 375 millions of dollars. we know that they all look alike, but this big brood was -- big brute was the shovel that dug its way through the entire length of the canal from one end to the other. while the shovels dig, we are standing in the top of the dam looking south of gatun lake. in the distance, you saw the guide appear -- pier.
the ships are lowered 85 feet to the level of the atlantic. the camera swings in slow panorama, and on the hill and on the hill in the distance, the administration buildings come into view. all these orders were formulated for the hill thing. -- building. this bridge like structure is one of the two emergency locks. should anything go wrong with a regular lock gate, one of these can be swung across the lock in question, and they will drop big steel plates to form a supplementary gate. and here is one of the pair of upper lochs. look at the size of it. 1000 feet long, 110 feet wide and 83 feet deep. 2 million yards of tons were used on the canal, and the work took from 1906 to 1911. now a clear view of all six lochs is shown just weeks prior to their completion.
the regular gate can be closed in two minutes, although they weight from 400 to 700 tons each. to give you a better idea of the size look at the small figure of , the man in the middle distance. there is the panama canal from the underside, one of the greatest pieces of man-made construction ever known. the first talk was in 1825 when henry clay appointed a committee to look into the idea, and through which the first ship passed on august 3, 1913 in opened officially august 15 the same year. the panama canal, a monument to the american people. >> on sunday night at 630 p.m. eastern, from the american bar
association's annual meeting, chief justice john roberts discusses the magna carta on its 800 anniversary. he reflects on my there was a need for the magna carta, how would help shape a young america, and its significance today. you are watching american history tv all weekend, every weekend, on c-span3. theith live coverage of u.s. house on c-span and the senate on c-span2, on c-span3, we show you the most relevant congressional hearings and public affairs events. on weekends, c-span3 is the home to american history tv, the programs that tell our nation story, including six unix tories. the civil wars anniversary, visiting battlefields and key events. american artifacts, two are in museums and historic sites to discover what artifacts reveal, history bookshelf, with the best-known american history writers, the presidency, looking at the policies and legacies of our commanders in chief, lectures in history, with
college professors delving into america's past, and our new america, featuring films from the 1930's through the 1970's. tvpan3, created by the cable industry and funded by your local satellite provider. watch us in hd, like us on facebook, and follow us on twitter. up next on american history tv, president truman's grandson joins atomic bomb survivors from hiroshima and nagasaki to discuss the lasting legacy of the nuclear attack that ended world war ii in the pacific. it was president truman who order the attacks. president truman's grandson, clifton truman daniel, also participated in the discussion. this event was hosted by the japan society. it is about one hour and 10 minutes long. >> it's a very exciting time to be involved in nuclear abolition, that is getting rid of all nuclear weapons.
there has been some signifigant the martial islands last week filed a suit in the international court of justice against the nine countries that have nuclear weapons for their failure to negotiate in good faith to abolish nuclear weapons in the world. there's also been two international conferences recently where 120 citizen groups have called for a complete ban of nuclear weapons for humanitarian and environmental reasons. they call for a ban because nuclear weapons breed fear among nations. they don't build security. thech the they have the capacity to destroy all life forms on earth. all complex life forms on earth. they divert funds from health care, education, social services. finally, before i introduced our guests, i'd like you to close your eyer